Blue Springs quarterback Chase Donohoe, the son of head coach Kelly Donohoe, was asked this week about starring in a 35-17 district championship victory over crosstown rival Blue Springs South.
“It was great,” said Chase, who was a near perfect 9-of-10 for 148 yards and two touchdowns, “the biggest win of the season.”
Yes, but what about it being milestone win No. 200 for your father?
“It was?” Chase said, grinning. “He never talks about stuff like that. I had no idea it was his 200th win. I guess I better congratulate him and see what we can do to make No. 201 even more special.”
The Wildcats hope No. 201 comes at 1 p.m. today at Peve Stadium, where they are playing host to the Park Hill Trojans in a Class 6 state semifinal that will punch the winner’s ticket to the Show-Me Bowl state championship next Saturday in Springfield.
The game – really the entire postseason – has felt like home for the 10-2 Wildcats as they have played each playoff game at Peve Stadium.
“How crazy is that?” asked Coach Donohoe. “This is our seventh semifinal and in 2001 we were in Jefferson City, in 2003 Columbia Hickman, 2009 we were here at Peve, 2012 at DeSmet, 2013 at Eureka and 2016 we went to CBC (in St. Louis). “And this season they’ve all been at home, and the boys have enjoyed the home cooking – so have the coaches.”
The Wildcats have defeated Jefferson City 46-23, Fort Zumwalt West 49-21 and the Jaguars 35-17 to advance to the semifinal.
The starting defensive unit has allowed more than one touchdown in just one game this season – a 28-25 loss to Park Hill in Week 4 in a game that saw the Wildcats fumble the ball on the 4-yard line and muff a punt on the 25 – with both miscues leading to Trojan touchdowns.
“The key Saturday is cutting down on mistakes and holding down their offense,” Kelly Donohoe said. “And they have a great offense. No. 5 (running back Dorian Clayton) and No. 6 (wide receiver Ronnie Bell) are among the best in the state.
“We can’t let them make big plays. And you know, it’s kind of funny, I coached Ronnie’s dad Aaron when I was at Raytown South. He was an all-state wide receiver and Ronnie is one of the best in the state, but when I look at that father and son combination, it makes me feel a little bit old.”
It gets defensive back Azaiah Bello energized.
“We have to shut down their passing game,” said Bello, who leads the Wildcats with three interceptions. “We have so much respect for Park Hill. We know we have to bring our A game to the game Saturday and we’re working hard at practice this week to do it.”
Donohoe won 25 games at Raytown South and has won 175 the past 18 years at Blue Springs, along with four state championships.
“The only reason I like to talk about success is because I can talk about all our great coaches, who spend so much time away from their families during the football season, and all the great young men who have been a part of the program,” the coach said. “I didn’t think it was necessary to talk about our win over South last week as my 200th career win. But a lot of people found out about it. Now, all we’re concentrating on is Park Hill.”
And win No. 201.
“Oh, we definitely want to get Coach No. 201 this week,” Parker said. “It’s going to be a high-energy game where just have to go out and take care of business.
“There’s no revenge factor involved because they beat us earlier this season. There’s something much larger than that – the winner goes to state – and we went last year and want to go again this year. And I know we have the team that can do it – we just have to go out and prove it Saturday.”
The Wildcats say a big factor is keeping the high-powered Park Hill offense off the field.
“If we have the ball, they can’t score,” said Cade Musser, who has been used at running back and in the slot throughout an injury-plagued season. “This is my first year at Blue Springs (after transferring from St. Joseph Central) and I’ve been hurt a lot, so you know how much this game means to me.
“I’ve never won a district game, let alone played in a state semifinal game. Our offense is really playing well and our defense is amazing. We’re all excited about Saturday.”